History

1239

The earliest evidence of a house dates back to 1239, it was originally called 'Watershyppes' and owned by a Simon Fitz Ade.


1440

The house was rebuilt and renamed, this is when the “Brockets”, originally from Yorkshire, established themselves as one of Hertfordshire’s leading families. The most famous of the Brocket family was John Brocket, the high sheriff of Hertfordshire in 1553.


1500s

Whilst Mary Queen of Scots was on the throne, her sister Elizabeth was kept under “house arrest” at Hatfield House. She used to walk along the banks of the River Lea to visit John Brocket, a confidant of hers. In 1558, Elizabeth became Queen and bestowed a knighthood on Sir John Brocket.


1746

The House was bought by Matthew Lamb, a successful lawyer and banker. Lamb hired one of the leading architects of the age, Sir James Paine, who was instructed to design a new Brocket Hall, the house that stands today.


1768

The new Hall took 15 years to complete but Sir Matthew Lamb never lived to see it. His son, Sir Peniston Lamb inherited Brocket Hall at the age of 21. He married a remarkable lady called Elizabeth Millbank, who was clever, politically aware and wise. Elizabeth made friends with a number of principal members of both main parties but she became especially close with George, Prince of Wales. She later became his mistress and remained so for many years! When the Prince Regent became King he often sought her for advice. Sir Peniston was raised to peerage and became the first Lord Melbourne. It is said that this was entirely due to his wife, as he was supposedly a dull man.


1779

William Lamb, the son of Sir Peniston and Elizabeth was born.


1828

Upon the death of his father, William inherited his title, becoming the 2nd Lord Melbourne. His wife was the infamous Lady Caroline Lamb, who had a tumultuous affair with Lord Byron.


1832

Lord Melbourne became Prime Minister. Princess Victoria was a frequent visitor to Brocket Hall, it is said that Melbourne thought of her as a daughter. In 1837 Lord Melbourne broke the news to a young Victoria that she was to become Queen. He taught her almost everything he could to prepare her for the mammoth task in front of her. She often visited Brocket Hall and until her marriage to Prince Albert, weekly bunches of flowers were sent from the Estate to the Palace.


1839

Lord Palmerston, Melbourne’s Foreign Secretary, married Lord Melbourne’s sister Emily Lamb. Emily was the widow of the 5th Lord Cowper, a neighbour of Brocket Hall, with an equally large house and 6,000 acres.


1848

Lord Melbourne died peacefully in his sleep at Brocket Hall. Upon his death, the Estate move to his sister Emily and Lord Palmerston.


1855

Lord Palmerston became Prime Minister for the first time until 1858. He would reign again in 1859 until his death in 1865. He remains the last Prime Minister to die in office. He is known to have died of a fever, but an alternative version of history suggests that his death was precipitated by a liaison with a maid on the billiard table.


1892

Lord Mount Stephen, who was a much respected and self-made man, making his fortune from the Canadian Pacific Railroad, rented the house. Queen Victoria and Edward VII were frequent guests of his.


1921

Brocket Hall was sold to Sir Charles Nall-Cain, who later became the First Lord Brocket. He took the name Brocket from the Hall. His family fortune came from a brewing company that his father started, Walker Cain.


1935

Sir Charles died and Arthur Ronald Nall-Cain became the 2nd Lord Brocket.


1939

Brocket Hall was handed over to the War Office. It became a Maternity Hospital run by the Red Cross during WWII. Over 8,338 babies were born at Brocket Hall during this period. Lord Melbourne’s room became the birthing room and the Prince Regents Suite was the recovery room.


1967

Charles Nall-Cain inherited Brocket Hall and the title from his Grandfather, Ronald. His father had died in 1961. Charles was only 15 and still at Eton when he inherited the Estate.


1992

The first golf course was built on the Estate, named after the 2nd Lord Melbourne.


1997

The Brocket Hall Trustees sold a 60-year leasehold.


1999

The second golf course was built, named after Lord Palmerston, the second Prime Minister to live at Brocket Hall, the last Prime Minister to have died in office. The course was designed by Donald Steel, pictured here opening the course.



We had our wedding at Brocket Hall and had

the best day ever! We can't wait to come back to the 

Estate to celebrate our anniversary.